John Miller-Chambers/Southern Valley

Coach
Few can match the diverse success enjoyed by John Miller. A 36-year coaching career garnered seven state championships and more than 700 victories in girls’ and boys’ basketball and football. His longest tenure came as the Chambers girls’ basketball coach where his teams won five state championships, four runner-up trophies and 585 games. The Coyotes put together an 87-game win streak. After 30 years coaching girls at Chambers, he moved to boys’ basketball, first at Chambers/Wheeler Central then Southern Valley. In six years at Southern Valley, his teams notched 124 wins and captured Class C2 state championship in 2014. Miller also coached the Chambers football team for 13 years, winning 77 games and the 2007 state title.

Kethy Mettenbrink-Centura

Coach
At Centura High School, Kathy Mettenbrink was simply known as “Coach.” Her 34-year career as the Centurions girls basketball coach resulted in 549 wins, 11 state tournament appearances and two runner-up finishes. But her biggest accomplishments can’t be quantified by numbers. “She turned a lot of average players into great ones,” one of her players said. Despite its small size, Centura saw more than its share of girls become college basketball players. Mettenbrink put her all into coaching. Starting in elementary school, where she taught physical education, Mettenbrink challenged her girls physically and mentally, teaching integrity, hard work, respect, perseverance and teamwork.

RICK MEYER – Superior


Superior (Class of 1980)

 

 

 

 

 

When Rick Meyer spins around, the discus usually sails a long way. By the time he was named the Hastings Tribune’s Prep Athlete of the Year in 1980, Meyer had already embarked on a record-setting career. The first Nebraska prepster to eclipse the 190-foot mark, Meyer won the all-class gold medal as a junior and the Class B gold medal as a senior. Also all-area in football and basketball, Meyer accepted a track scholarship to the University of Houston where he was a three-time Southwest Conference champion, a five-time All-American (twice in the shot put) and the NCAA champion in 1985 and runner-up in 1983. His senior year he set the NCAA meet record of 209-10. Ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for nine years, Meyer placed fifth in the Goodwill Games in Moscow in 1986 and was an alternate for the Olympics in 1992. His younger brother, Andy, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

DON MEYER – Wayne


Wayne (Class of 1963)

 

 

 

 

 

Don Meyer made his mark nationally as a successful and legendary college basketball coach, setting a record with 923 wins at Hamline (MN) University, Lipscomb (TN) University and Northern State (SD), but his playing accomplishments can’t be overlooked. The only player at Wayne High School to have his jersey retired, Meyer averaged 20 points per game as a junior and 26.5 points per game as a senior for teams that were a combined 32-5. He also starred as a pitcher on Wayne’s first high school team and its American Legion team. At the University of Northern Colorado, Meyer was a four-year starter in basketball, leading the Bears in scoring his junior and senior seasons. He also went 22-2 as a pitcher on the UNC baseball team that nearly qualified for the College World Series. He has been inducted into Wayne High School, Northern Colorado and the NAIA Halls of Fame, and is the subject of the movie, My Many Sons.

JON MCWILLIAMS – Sidney

Sidney (Class of 1952)

 

 

 

 

 

Jon McWilliams was noted for his speed. Labeled “Greased Lighting” after a three-touchdown performance against Oshkosh, the Sidney senior sprinted to Class B all-state honors in football and the 120-yard high hurdles silver medal at the state track meet, helping his team win the state title. McWilliams, who lettered all four years in high school in all three sports, was also a mainstay on the basketball team. Selected as Western Nebraska’s Football MVP by the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, McWilliams went on to earn All-Big Seven honors at Nebraska after being switched to end. One of the first black players of the modern era, McWilliams was a three-year letterman in football and ran track for the Huskers. He played one year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.

Paul Mohr – Scottsbluff

Athlete. 1950.

Paul Mohr led Scottsbluff to the state basketball tournament semifinals in 1950, earning all-state and all-tournament honors.  He also earned all-state honors in football and led the Scottsbluff American Legion baseball team to a state runner-up finish, batting .544. In addition, he was a three-year letterman in track. Recruited by the University of Texas to play basketball, he switched to baseball after his freshman year, becoming a two-time All-Southwest Conference first baseman and a second-team All-American. He played for the Longhorn team that twice qualified for the College World Series. Signed by the Cleveland Indians, he played minor league baseball for six years.

Bill Madden – Scottsbluff

HOF inducteeContributor–Good sports writing is a good part of enhancing high school athletes in Nebraska. One of the major contributors over the years was this talented writer, known for painstaking accuracy, whether associated with the Hastings Tribune, the Gering Courier or the Scottsbluff Star-Herald newspapers. Covering sports was his number one priority and with much effort he became a noted historian of high school sports throughout the state over the years. If anyone had a question about Nebraska sports, Madden usually got a call. Most of the time he could answer it right off the top of his head. If he couldn’t, he had a library of newspaper clippings arranged in 300 books dating back to 1941. Madden made it a point to be informed. Certainly, Western Nebraska athletes could rest assured they would receive their fair share of publicity due to the calm, fair judgment of this respected sports scribe.

 

Item From Hastings Tribune, 1997 == By Kyle Svec, Tribune Sports Editor

Nebraska lost one of its biggest sports fans Saturday.

For parts of seven decades, Bill Madden devoted himself to the game. He loved to watch and write about the contests played by boys and girls in Nebraska high schools.

Along the way, he earned the respect and admiration of coaches, athletes, teachers, parents and readers of newspapers -especially the Hastings Tribune, Scottsbluff Star-Herald and Gering Courier. He spent 46 years of his life at the three papers.

Madden died Saturday at the age of 78 in Scottsbluff.

Madden was a wealth of knowledge when it came to sports history in Nebraska. Even as his body failed him, his mind stayed sharp. Just a week and a half ago Tribune sportswriter Terry Douglass called Madden to discuss the 1954 Hastings High boys state basketball championship team.

Madden talked Douglass’ ear off with recollections. Madden was sports editor of the Tribune then. And he told the stories of 1954 like they happened yesterday.

Anyone who started talking sports with Madden knew they were in for a long conversation.

I called Bill last fall to discuss his induction into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of fame.

Two hours later, I had four pages of notes with very little pertaining to the induction. That’s the way he was.

If anyone had a question about Nebraska sports, Madden usually got a call.

Most of the time he could answer it right off the top of his head. If he couldn’t, he had a library of newspaper clippings arranged in 300 books dating back to 1941.

Madden made it a point to be informed.

He said: “I always thought I needed to know more about my team than anyone else. There was no reason to go out there and cover them if I didn’t.”

Notice how Madden referred to the team as “his team”.

That was his way. His style of writing was down-home. the kind hometown fans enjoyed. Good news or bad news, folks knew they could count on Madden – just like a member of the family.

During our phone conversation, I asked Madden what he calls his hometown.

He paused and responded: “Every place I have been, I have called my hometown.”

Madden offered some other observations during our conversation:

– He said the dedication of old-time writers is not equaled today. Although I am a writer of today, I found it hard to argue.
– He said he never found much use for interviews. “The old-time writers went more for the contest,” he said. “Young writers today go for the social aspect.”
– He said being inducted into the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame was one of the nicest honors he’d received, noting that he belonged to a trapshooting hall of fame and a wresting hall of fame despite the fact he had never fired a shotgun or wrestled.

The one aspect of athletics Madden didn’t care for was fans who criticized coaches, teams or players. “There’s always going to be that core of fans that don’t know what sportsmanship is,” he said.

Madden was a true sportsman. And generations of Nebraskans benefited from it.

Steve Morgan – Ogallala

inducteeCoach.

Few coaches can match Steve Morgan’s success. Morgan created a dynasty without equal in Ogallala. At the time of his induction in 2012, Morgan’s 38-year volleyball coaching career included 788 victories, three state championships and four runner-up finishes in 25 state tournament appearances. His career did not include a losing season. During his tenure, the Indians dominated the Southwest Conference, winning 24 consecutive league titles and an overall league record of 177-13. Recognized for his skills in teaching the game, Morgan inaugurated youth programs at Ogallala that helped create the team’s success along with more than 60 athletes who went on to play collegiately. His camps have drawn teams and players from Washington, California, Texas and Canada. 

Tom Millsap – Grand Island

Athlete. An all-around athlete noted for his speed, Tom never played football as a freshman but made up for it the next three years. In the starting lineup his junior and senior years, playing both ways he topped the team stats in scoring, rushing, punt returns, pass receiving, and interceptions. Tom was a three-year starter in basketball and was selected Big 10 all-conference in 1962 and 1963, and the all-state team in 1963. He set a single season scoring record of 334 points in ’63-’63 and set a career scoring record of 717 points.

In track, he dominated the sprints in the Big 10 conference winning the 100 three straight years as well as being a member of the 880 yard relay team that accomplished the same thing. Tom was also part of a Hall of Fame Great Moment in Sports at the Hastings Invitational 100 yard dash finals where the first four runners were across the finish line in under 10 seconds. A sophomore, he finished third behind seniors Bobby Williams of Lincoln High and Kent McCloughan of Broken Bow.

He won three gold medals at the state track meet setting a state record in the 220 (21.6) that lasted until 1998. He was a member of state record setting 440 and 880 relay teams. He was named the Lincoln Journal Star Athlete of the Year in 1963. At Nebraska, he was a member of record setting 440 and 880 relays and won All-America honors in track in 1965.

By Dale Miller – Grand Island Independent, Sept, 2001
Tom Millsap has plenty of highlights to look back upon during his athletic career at Grand Island Senior High.

The 1963 GISH graduate earned three gold medals in the ’63 state track and field meet, was an all-state selection in basketball the same year and was also a standout in football.

All those accomplishments are why Millsap is being inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony Sunday at the Lied Center in Lincoln.

But one of Millsap’s fondest memories isn’t one of those many highlights but a moment that showed how far he came during his high school career.

“I had no knowledge about football when I moved to Grand Island from Phillips as a sophomore,” said Millsap, who is now the activities director at North Platte High School. “That is something that sticks out more than the three gold medals at state.

“When I moved to Grand Island and showed up for my first football practice, I did not even know how to put my pads on. I had to watch guys put their pads on so that I would do it right. I went from a school with seven people in my class to one with 350 kids. My sophomore year was an eye opener.”

But Millsap opened many eyes with his athletic endeavors over the next three years. Millsap, a four-sport athlete who also played Legion baseball in the summer, may have earned his greatest fame on the track. A standout in the sprints, Millsap’s 21.6 second performance in the 220-yard dash was a state record that stood for 35 years.

Millsap said earning three golds at state as a senior is something he is proud of.

“That is something at the time, when you are 17 years old, that you don’t reflect on like you should,” he said.

Millsap credits his coaches and teammates for the success he had.

“I’m happy with the coaches we had while I was there,” he said. “I was a challenge to them, I’m sure, back in my days. I also played with a lot of great players.”

Millsap said it is a big honor to be joining the Hall of Fame.

“You are always somewhat surprised,” he said. “If you look back at the history of athletics in the state of Nebraska, not only at Grand Island, I’m surprised and at the same time feel honored that someone remembers you from that long ago.”

Millsap appreciates his time at Senior High, which began a lifetime of athletics for him. He was a basketball coach at Lexington, Norfolk, Omaha Bryan and North Platte before serving as North Platte’s activities director for the past 15 years.

“Whether I was participating, as a player, coach or an activities director, athletics have been a big part of my life since an early age,” he said. “Athletics have been something I’ve always enjoyed. There are a lot of positive experiences with athletics, not to say there aren’t a few negatives, but there are more positive experiences. It is especially rewarding when you work as a team to accomplish something.”

Jim Morrison – Howells

Coach. Coaching 40 years at Howells, Jim Morrison became one of Nebraska’s legendary basketball coaches. His Bobcat teams won state championships in 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1983 and made one other state finals appearance. He compiled a 594-326 record, including two years at Dodge, and coached nine all-state selections. Morrison’s teams qualified for the state tournament 10 times and won 14 conference championships. He was twice named the Nebraska Coaches Association Coach of the Year. At the time of his retirement, Morrison stood fourth in victories among Nebraska basketball coaches. He also coached football, track and baseball.